01 May 2018

Old news

While talking about eminent domain in class, we skipped over New Jersey's most famous case: Donald Trump v. Vera Coking.

In 1998 the NY Times shared a short news piece stating that Donald Trump had failed in his five year effort to force a woman out of her home for a limo parking park.

Despite reported offers of over a million dollars, Vera Coking wanted to hold on to her boarding house and fought for that right. Eminent domain is a government power, and Trump's casino was a private interest, so he relied on Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) for the condemnation. An advocacy group called the Institute for Justice wrote about this extraordinary situation:
Unlike most developers, Donald Trump doesn’t have to negotiate with a private owner when he wants to buy a piece of property because a governmental agency-the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority or CRDA-will get it for him at a fraction of the market value, even if the current owner refuses to sell. Here is how the process works.
Unsurprisingly, the issue came up again during the 2016 campaign when Ted Cruz used it in a campaign ad where one kids condemned another kid's doll house.
The Coking house was photodocumented by HABS in 1991:

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